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Thanks to The Daily Deal, the community of movers and shakers in the finance arena finally has a paper of its own. And if the high-end business/trade hybrid succeeds, it might just catch on with a consumer readership. We are, after all, a nation of capitalists.

"There is so much energy surrounding dealmakers," says Robin Danielson, co-chair and planning director at Mad Dogs & Englishmen, the New York City agency charged with handling The Daily Deal's $1 million advertising account. "It's a spectator sport in our country."

The paper, which launched in September, is as graphically bold as the larger-than-life personalities it covers, with its bright red-and-black logo and section heads, like Talk and Barron's, all rolled into one.

But the New York City-based tabloid, its executives insist, is first and foremost a publication for key practitioners of the art of the deal, hence the subtitle "The Journal for Corporate, Law and Finance Professionals." Published by American Lawyer Media, The Daily Deal is aiming to be the print and online source for mergers-and-acquisitions specialists, venture capitalists, bankers, regulators, and lobbyists. Company chief executives and heads of M&A or leveraged buyout practices at law firms are among the paper's most desirable targets.

With an annual subscription price of $750 and individual copies selling for $3.50 at selected newsstands, the paper offers breaking news as well as weekly features and statistics on select industries. The debut issue, for example, featured the top earners in private equity, and broke the story about wireless operator VoiceStream's acquisition aspirations.

The M&A arena alone is a $2.3 trillion business that was not covered enough in the media, says Larry Gelfand, publisher of The Daily Deal. "That this industry did not have its own one-stop-shopping news source that reports on the ins-and-outs of deals was just amazing to us."

American Lawyer Media, which already dominates the legal publishing market thanks to its roster of 21 newspapers and magazines nationwide, including The American Lawyer and The National Law Journal, has identified as its circulation target the 125,000 or so finance professionals in the U.S. involved in various aspects of dealmaking, Gelfand says. (There are nearly twice as many abroad.) Needless to say, the paper intends to stay on top of international transactions, with the paper's 55 staffers and stringers posted in all corners of the world, including Washington, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo.

"We should be viable wherever transactions take place," says the newspaper's editor in chief, Robert Teitelman, who notes that many American law firms and investment banks are becoming key players in international deals. "Europe is an extremely hot area, for example. And in a demographics sense, we're finding that the deal markets have now migrated abroad," Teitelman says.

Besides the initial 25,000 copies currently being distributed domestically, The Deal has also rolled out 500 copies in London, and plans further international distribution. The paper hopes to break even in the first two to three years, based on income from advertising and subscriptions, Gelfand says.

The paper is not operating in a vacuum, of course. Scores of business publications, including The Wall Street Journal, American Banker, and Investment Dealer's Digest, knock on the same doors whenever relevant news breaks. But The Deal is banking on the fact that no other publication is focusing exclusively on the deal market. And while The Wall Street Journal is clearly the most formidable competitor, Deal executives claim the former covers business from a broad perspective, with attention paid to how news affects shareholders, whereas The Deal will focus on mergers and acquisitions and other types of transactions well beyond the announcement stage.

Gelfand says that prospective advertisers at investment banks have told him they welcome the chance to reach a smaller but more targeted group of readers through his paper.

To emphasize that efficient media buy, Mad Dogs & Englishmen has devised a clever print and outdoor campaign that singles out the paper from the usual media clutter. In one execution, the copy accompanying a photograph of a stack of business publications reads "How to reach someone who might buy an iBook from Apple." Following that is a second layout with a picture of The Daily Deal and the text "How to reach someone who might buy Apple."

"No other publication covers this market like this publication purports to do," says Ray Zipko, an executive vice president at Doremus Advertising, an agency that specializes in corporate business and financial communications. Still, Zipko says that some of his clients are taking a "wait-and-see" attitude, relying on ads in a "proven warrior" like the Journal. But their overall feeling is "positive," he adds. Investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, a Doremus client, took out a full-page color ad in the paper's second issue.

There is no shortage of M&A-specific ads to be had, from companies like Deloitte & Touche, AIG Companies, and KPMG. The cost of a one-time color ad is $6,500, while black-and-white ads sell for $4,500. In the months to come, Gelfand says he expects to bring in ads from law firms, public relations firms, e-commerce companies, and travel concerns. Given the high income of the powerbrokers likely to read The Daily Deal, this may not be a tough sell, although no reader demographics are available yet.

By comparison, The Wall Street Journal says that 43.7 percent of its readers are at the highest level of management (partner, chair of the board, or director), and its total affluent audience is stronger than ever: average household income is $148,765 and average personal income is an impressive $89,389.

Perhaps taking a page from the Journal, which since March 1998 has leveraged its high-end audience into a consumer brand by launching the "Weekend Journal" section (devoted to "the leisure pursuits of the affluent American"), Gelfand's company is even looking to put a consumer spin on its new publication, with a planned launch, early next year, of a more consumer-friendly Web site. That site, he says, will carry content appearing in the daily paper but edited for those not necessarily involved in dealmaking - people in the investment community such as stockbrokers, for example, or laymen who are just fascinated with the money culture.

"We would like to get a sophisticated consumer audience if we can," says Teitelman.

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